My Good News Story About Sleep Apnea
by Terry Vella
(Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
I’m not really worried about the prize, if I get my story published that’s fine because I already feel I have won, I feel lucky because I have got my life back after 49 years and are now are privileged that I am helping and supporting others with this illness, I am a member of 3 other internet forums.
I have never slept well even when I was a baby, my parents had to drive me around in the car to get me to sleep (I think I liked the movement), then they would put me in my bed and any noise would wake me up and around the block we would go again.
So I haven't slept well for 49 years, three years ago things started getting worse, the GFC, my job was looking shaky, I lost a lot of money on investments and we had a really hot summer with bushfires in Australia that killed hundreds (I wasn't involved) but all those things really stressed me more than normal.
Over a two year period, I saw 5 specialists and they all said I had depression and that's why I couldn't sleep.
I kept telling them I was waking up all the time and couldn't breathe. My wife used to tell me to just turn over and go to sleep and that made me worse because she didn't understand.
Christmas 2010, I didn't sleep for a week, and put myself into a hospital for 9 days. I did learn a lot but didn't get any better. I was really doped up on all sorts of drugs to get me to sleep none worked.
When I got out, I said that was it, I had to see a sleep specialist because something was wrong. My Doctor's said no, it was all in my head and doubled the doses of meds.
My wife said if I didn't listen to them, she would leave me. I didn't want too but went along with them.
I remember in March, 2010, I went to a country market with my wife, my head was so foggy from lack of sleep, I couldn't walk around the market and I sat down and waited for my wife to look around.
When she came back, I said that this would be the last time I saw this market. She said what do you mean, don't you want to come again. I said I wouldn't be around to see it again.
In April 2011, I was literally dying, chest pains, aches and pains in all my bones, stomach aches, I lost 20kgs (40 pounds), was way under weight and slept 1-2 hours per night then going to work the next day and on and on and on. I didn't know what I was doing.
Eventually I was so desperate I rang a Sleep Specialist and begged him to see me and told him if he didn’t, I would die. He took me in without my Doctors permission or a referral.
As soon as I walked in the door, he said I had sleep apnea and got me an urgent sleep study and it confirmed I have both obstructive and central sleep apnea with an AHI of 30.
That Doctor saved my life. My wife still doesn't believe I have Sleep Apnea. I feel so good everyday now, my head has never been this clear in 49 years.
I don't have any aches or pains anymore and even my eyesight has improved. I am healing, I’m not a 100% but I am 100% better than I was.
I'd like to share one of my good news stories, I go to a Depression Outpatient course called Mindfulness on Saturday mornings, we learn to accept our illnesses and other things like breathing techniques etc.
Anyway two of the ladies paid me a compliment the other day, they said I was looking really good, much better than I was looking at my depths of despair which was only last year and then after the class my teacher said I looked like I had grown in height because my shoulders weren't hunched anymore and that I looked fantastic compared to last year.
I said I thought she may have shrunk rather than me getting taller (only joking). I've been feeling a lot better lately since lowering the dosage of the antidepressant. I'm down to a quarter of what I was on and plan to be fully off it shortly.
My point is that the diagnosis of sleep apnea and subsequent treatment has turned my life around.
I feel so much better, I have changed my life values and I am now dedicated to helping and supporting others that have this illness.
I now feel some purpose in life.
I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide